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Cricut machines are all the rage at the moment – and it’s easy to see why. They’re the perfect companion for any avid crafter, whether it’s just as a creative pastime or your own small crafting business.
Cricut machines are advanced cutting tools that can help you to perform precision cuts at the touch of a button, with very little effort. These machines can help you to make all sorts of crafty items such as signs, banners, vinyl inserts, stickers, and much more!
But did you know that a Cricut machine can help you to cut wood? That’s right! Cutting wood has never been easier thanks to this neat invention.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how the Cricut machine works effortlessly to perform intricate woodcuts, how to prepare your machine for cutting as well as what type of wood is best for these machines. Let’s jump in!
Get The Right Equipment
Before you get started on your Cricut wood cutting project, you’ll need to make sure that you have the following items to hand:
- Cricut Machine – Of course, you’re going to need your machine. In order to cut wood, you’ll need to get your hands on the Cricut Maker machine. Unfortunately, you can’t cut wood on Cricut’s smaller units such as the Cricut Joy and Explore air machines. The Cricut Maker now has new technology that allows you to swap out blades. Drive Housing is the name given to this cutting-edge technology. It has interchangeable blades and can generate up to 4kg of power.
- Cutting Mat – If you plan on attempting to cut BassWood, you’ll require a few specialized tools. To begin, you’ll need to utilize a cutting mat. Because the Standard Grip mat is insufficiently strong, you will need to use the strong grip pad to cut wood. This will help to prevent your work from slipping around as you cut it.
- Knife Blade – The knife blade is essential when slicing thick materials with your Cricut Maker. You won’t be capable of cutting wood unless you have this. The Knife Blade may also be used to cut suede, plywood, and other heavier substances. It’s a blade you’ll certainly like to keep on hand. Whether you are slicing a thick substance, the knife blade will create numerous runs: a light score pass, a heavier pass in the center, and finally a lighter pass near the end of the chopping. This ensures a good cut and replicates how you would cut if you’re doing it by hand. This varied pressure also contributes to the blade’s longevity.
- The wood of your choice – Next, you’re going to need some wood. Cricut sells some great cuts of wood that are designed specifically for their machines. However, you can get cheaper wood samples online or in your local craft store. Just make sure that it is Cricut compatible before you spend any money!
- Tape – This is to keep your project securely in place during the cutting process.
Prepare Your Machine
First, you’ll need to load the knife blade in your Cricut machine.
On Cricut machine’s roller bar, slide the white star wheels all the way to the right side. The wheels assist the material keep in place when cutting, although they might create track markings on harder materials. Make sure the black rubber wheels will move the mat, but don’t roll on the wood material itself.
When performing this for the first time, you’ll need to exert some force. Sliding the white wheels to the side will always result in a one-inch overlap on your board.
You will begin cutting the board in this stage. This entails making a pass centered on the cutting files. Following the completion of the pass, the Design Space application will plan and prepare to cut the wood. As previously stated, your Cricut will slice the wood in many passes.
Right before your Cricut cuts the final pass, it will ask you to take a look at the sheet to determine if it is completed or if an additional pass is required. If you can quickly remove the board with a special tool, or if you notice the wood moving up/away, it’s completed.
However, your material may be finished cutting multiple passes before you come to this stage. Just keep a close eye on the wood and your mat. If you’re able to lift the wood sheet easily off the mat, it’s done. All you have to do is stop the cut on your computer in Cricut Design Space.
When you’re absolutely certain that the machine has finished the cutting process, it’s time to eject the mat from your Cricut machine.
Take a quick look before you do this to ensure that the blade has managed to cut all the way through your wooden board. If so, you can remove the tape and your cut is complete.
What If The Knife Blade Doesn’t Cut Through The Wood?
Do not retrieve the pad from your Cricut Maker machine until all passes have been completed. Releasing the mat would end the project and prevent you from doing any subsequent cut passes if necessary.
Verify that all cuts look good and that you don’t need to put the wood through again. You can examine your cuts by gently picking at the cut places with a weeding tool.
Check if the cuts have made it all the way through into the board. If you discover that a section needs to be sliced more carefully using a tiny hand tool, try clicking the Go icon in Design Space to start additional passes.
Be aware that cutting too deeply will cause your mat to rip, so use your own best judgment to determine whether or not another pass is required.
If only a tiny quantity of material remains attached all along cut slits, manually finishing off the cuts with an X-acto knife tool may be quicker.
What Wood Should I Use In A Cricut Machine?
The most common varieties of wood to use in a Cricut machine are basswood and Balsa wood. They are both extremely lightweight and are utilized in a wide range of handicraft and modeling tasks.
Balsa is extremely strong for its weight so it may be bent by immersing it in moisture and then keeping it in position as it dries. It’s worth noting that basswood can flex and doesn’t need to be soaked in water.
Balsa is the cheapest option of the two materials and is widely available at craft and specialty stores. Because you want to minimize knots in your wood, it’s better to look at balsa in person prior to purchasing it.
Or, at the very minimum, research how it works and check out some of the online reviews.
Basswood is much thicker and more robust than balsa and is less prone to warping. It is less delicate than balsa and cannot be broken nearly as quickly. The Cricut Knife Blade works really well basswood’s clean, consistent wood grain.
The Cricut Maker machine can cut both types of wood. Whatever you choose, be sure it is free of knots. If a piece has a knot, ensure that the knife blade does not must go through the knot when carving your pattern.
Fortunately, Cricut offers a range of 1/16-inch basswood with a gorgeous finish that is specifically developed for knife blades. And because it’s Cricut-brand basswood, you’re you know it will work well with a Cricut cutting machine.